Sunday, July 14, 2013

Themes in Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards

Job's Tears Quilt Block

This month the free, online Quilters' Book Club is reading and discussing Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards.  Check the book out of the library or find the newly reissued paperback at your local book store and join us!  We read and discuss one book a month and then make a quilt block to go with each book.  If you'd like to create a block to go with a theme in Wedding Ring, click on the links to check out these quilt patterns:

Theme of Intergenerational Connectedness:
Interlocking Chain Quilt Block

Interlocking Squares Quilt Block

Theme of Pain and Healing:
Broken Heart Quilt Block

Hard Times Quilt Block

Job's Tears Quilt Block

Light and Shadows Quilt Block

Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block

Theme of the Value of Womanly Arts:
Art Square Quilt Block

Home Circle Quilt Block

Sunlight and Shadows Quilt Block

Home Circle Quilt Block

These quotes about the womanly arts stood out as I was reading:

"Women with very little not only making do, but making art as they did." page 101

Helen "knew that most girls today bought their clothes, their bed linens and blankets.  They ate out, too, or grabbed dinner through a window at some fast food place.  But didn't any girl need to know how to sew on a button or hem a dress, never mind cook a meal for her children?  Delilah had taught her daughter to be proud of her skills; she'd called them the womanly arts.  But what was womanly or artistic about grabbing a skirt off a rack or eating a hamburger out of wrapping paper?" p. 217

Nancy "wondered what Billy would think if he saw her mother's best work.  Would he, the educated collector of valuable abstract impressionists, think her mother's quilts were nothing more than primitive folk art from an old country woman?  Or would he see them as part of a chain of artists that was centuries long, female artists who had used what was at hand to bring comfort and beauty to their modest homes?" p. 267

Please respond to any of the quotes above or to this question:  Can the gentle pleasure of creating a quilt or any handcrafted item be a healing force for the maker, the giver, and the recipient?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comments section below.  By commenting, you are entering your name in a giveaway for Clare O'Donohue's book, The Devil's Puzzle, part of her Someday Quilts Mystery Series.  Plume Books has generously offered copies of Clare's book for TWO lucky winners this month! 

Just a heads up - The August Quilters' Book Club selection is Between Heaven and Texas by Marie Bostwick.  Plan for it now!  

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. The problem with non-quilter's view of quilting is that they feel anyone can use a needle and thread, so they could make "that". They seldom appreciate the work and art that is involved. I am enjoying discovering new authors, thank you for the adventure, Helen

  2. The value others put on a handmade object is something I am struggling with now, as I have been asked to return to Tohoku to help the women make things they can sell to raise money. Using scraps and working by hand is not the same as mass-producing things by machine with not such an investment in time.
    I once looked at hand-made quilts on consignment in a quilt shop in the States, and was shocked at the prices asked, as they would hardly cover the cost of fabric ans bating, let alone the time they must have taken to create.
    Years ago, I was asked to hand-quilt a quilt made by a friend for her grandson. I kept a record of the hours spent for a while, as she said she would pay me, but in the end, since she could get things from the States through the military post, I asked her for an "Ott light" instead. She got me a floor model and one spare bulb which I am yet to use, and I think it was a good deal. Setting a price would have been a challenge.

    I tried to order the next book from Amazon but the message came back they will not ship it to Japan. The following month's I could get. I may have to buy that one on my trip to the US.

  3. Oh indeed the gentle pleasure of making and giving a quilt spreads love all around.
    I work with a group from Toledo, Ohio; Quilts of Compassion. You can find them on Facebook. They'll make up quilt packets from donated fabric and batting for local women to make prayer quilts for "the hurting".
    Women from all over the U.S. as well, have sent in quilts for the QoC mission teams to distribute. They recently made 2 trips to the tornado ravaged area around Moore, OK and distributed hundreds of prayer quilts made by volunteers.
    First the quilts were made in prayer. Then the quilts are distributed in prayer, sometimes in the very neighborhoods where families have lost homes, loved ones or both. The teams also work with the Pastoral Care teams from the local hospitals, distributing prayer quilts to those suffering and injured in the hospital.
    I encourage you to read the beautiful details on Facebook of their recent trip to Moore. When people have lost so much, it is a tremendous comfort to know that someone cared enough to make a quilt for you and pray for you even if they don't know you personally. It makes the load of heartache a little lighter and easier to bear.

  4. Can the gentle pleasure of creating a quilt or any handcrafted item be a healing force for the maker, the giver, and the recipient? Absolutely!

    I loved reading about Billy looking at the quilts in the nursery of the church and how he fell in love with the frog quilt and wanting it. I had high hopes that this would lead to a different ending of the book.

    I also think it's important for not only women knowing survival tips, it's important for men to know too. My son sure has helped me make many quilts for charity. I cherish the pillow on my couch that he made for me one Mother's Day when he was in 7th grade. He also cooks and isn't scared to try out new things that we call his experiments. My husband learned to sew by machine back in January and he loves it.

    I am so glad in today's world it isn't considered women's work nor men's work. Glad I was able to learn to rebuild engines and yet I sew and cook too.

  5. One of the biggest pleasures that I get in life is from creating a quilt and giving it to a loved one - family, friend, colleague and sometimes even a stranger who is in need of the love sewn into the quilt I have created. A couple of times I have given quilts to acquaintances who were ill with cancer. I was given a greater gift back with the pleasure and joy that I got seeing their faces when I shared the quilts with them. Making something with my hands helps me to full fill that need inside to create - giving and sharing my passion for quilts full fills another...
    Regards from Alberta,

  6. I just finished reading the book last night. I enjoyed it so much. I could relate to the statements about young people buying ready-made clothes and eating their food out of paper wrapping. I saddens me that there is so much truth in that with so many people and not just the young. This was a very enjoyable book and I will read more of the authur's books.

  7. I believe that a quilters put a little heart and soul in each quilt she creates. As a quilter I try to say blessing over each quilt I make and nothing is as healing as a finished quilt! Would love to read the book!

  8. I'm off the library waiting list for this one, so just getting started!

    Whenever you're creating're taking something, and turning it into something else. There's got to be some magic in that, for both the maker, and the recipient....

  9. Nancy "wondered what Billy would think if he saw her mother's best work. Would he, the educated collector of valuable abstract impressionists, think her mother's quilts were nothing more than primitive folk art from an old country woman... This quote reminds me that art to me depends on who's viewing it. It is so subjective, it feeds us differently, and it affects us differently. I think that's why we're attracted to different concepts. Kind of the same for all aspects of life.

  10. I have always loved quilts but I can still remember my surprise when taking my first quilting class & realizing how much was actually involved in the process!

  11. Making a quilt is very healing for me. I think about the recipient with almost every stitch. You can't help but process a relationship when quilting in this way. I have also made two quilts for people who have lost loved ones out of the clothing of the deceased. I can't speak for their healing, but I feel a sense of love and humility with these projects. It's always difficult to cut into the first piece of clothing because I'm not sure I'm worthy to tackle such a spiritual project.


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